There’s nothing like the feeling of exploring someplace you’ve never been before. One of the best places to explore in the United States is the Southern Coast of Maine. With beaches and historical sites, it is a place you’ll never want to leave and a place you’ll never forget. The best way to explore the Southern Coast of Maine
is to come in from New Hampshire following Route One North. Along this Route, you’ll find some of the most amazing coastal areas with some of the most fascinating historical sites.
In Kittery, you’ll want to make sure you stop by the John Paul Jones State Historic Site. This is where you’ll find the Maine Sailors and Soldiers Memorial, a sculpture by Bashka Paeff, a well-known sculptor from the Boston area. The site itself was named after the Revolutionary War naval hero, John Paul Jones. He was in charge of the Ranger, a sloop that was constructed and launched from Badger’s Island, just a short distance away from the site of the Memorial.
The wonderful thing about Kittery is they have over a mile of outlet stores and most are famous brands. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for shoes or fine china, there will be an outlet store where you’ll find whatever you need or want. Also, don’t forget to stop at the famous Kittery Trading Post. If you’re going to go camping in Maine, this place is a must-see.
As you head up the coast further, stop in York and view the famous Nubble Lighthouse off from Cape Neddick, which is truly one of Maine’s most fascinating places. While it is inaccessible, you’ll get a great view from Cape Neddick and may capture the beauty with your lens. While visiting, you’ll also want to take the time to visit Long Sands Beach, a two-mile stretch of sand perfect for sunning, building sand castles, and if you don’t mind the freezing cold water, swimming. Downtown, you’ll find Short Sands Beach, which is closer to the stores, restaurants and Maine’s largest zoo, York’s Wild Kingdom.
Following the coast, you’ll want to make sure you stop in the Kennebunk and Kennebunkport region. This region has a lot of fascinating places to visit and if you get a view of Walker Point, you can see the summer home of former-President George Bush. If you go to the municipal pier at Cape Porpoise, a small working harbor, you’ll be able to Goat Island Light, which was established in 1833. This was the last manned lighthouse in Maine and is now owned by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.
Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are also home to some wonderful places to walk, including the Kennebunk Beach, the Goose Rocks Beach, and the Parson’s Way Shore Walk. Each of these walks will give you great ocean views, the smell of the salty water, and will leave you feeling refreshed. If you’re looking to shop while you walk, Kennebunkport and the Lower Village of Kennebunk will give you what you need amid the historical buildings of the waterfront with its fine gift shops, boutiques, and galleries, as well as some of the most appealing restaurants in Maine.
Your next stop should be in Biddeford. Here, not only will you find some nice beaches, you’ll also find in town, some of the oldest and historical mills in Maine. These mills were built in the mid-1800s along the Saco River, which once employed approximately 12,000 people, most being French-Canadian workers from Quebec. Some of these mills have now been remodeled and now house many different businesses. Another place to stop by is the Biddeford City Theatre, which has been recognized as one the best Victorian opera houses in the United States.
The beaches you’ll want to stop by in Biddeford include Fortunes Rocks Beach and Hills Beach, where you can swim and do some bird watching. If you are into bird watching, East Point Sanctuary is a 30 acre Audubon bird sanctuary and then you can go to Biddeford Pool, which is a one-mile tidal basin that you can observe a wide variety of the bird species.
Just a little further up the coast, you’ll come into Saco. This town is a joy to all who visit and while there, you must stop in to one of the most popular beaches in the area, Old Orchard Beach. Here you’ll find a seven-mile sandy beach, as well as Palace Playland, an amusement park located on the beach that caters to both the young and old. Whether you’re looking to ride the Ferris wheel or listen to a band, you’ll find what you’re looking for here at Old Orchard Beach. They even have fireworks every Thursday night by the pier and there are a ton of shops and boutiques. Just a little further up the coast, you can visit Funtown/Splashtown USA, where you’ll find one of the best water parks along the coast of Maine. Make a point to stop in to view Wood Island Lighthouse, a lighthouse with historical value, including a murder-suicide story behind it.
Heading North, you’ll definitely want to stop in Cape Elizabeth, one of the more prominent communities along the coast. This is home to some of the most amazing lighthouses, Two Lighthouse Park. While these lighthouses are off limits, you can see them from the Park and enjoy a cookout at one of the many picnic tables and grills available and enjoy the ocean view.
Once you reach Portland, your first stop should be Portland Head Light and Museum, Maine’s oldest lighthouse and located in Fort Williams Park, where there are many buildings to explore and things to do. Also, in Portland, Maine, you’ll find many historical buildings and places to see downtown in the Old Port district. Portland is Maine’s largest city and one that will keep you busy for quite a few days in your quest to know Maine.
These are just a few of the places to visit when you’re in Southern Maine. The coast of Maine is filled with history and while here you’ll want to visit many of the sites and whatever you do, don’t forget to bring your camera along.